Learning to Love Myself

Postby runscooterrun » Tue Sep 20, 2016 9:07 am

Hello. I'm not really sure how to go about this. I would like outsiders' opinions/advice on where I currently struggle, with the hope that one day I will be able to love myself.

I've had a hard time with self esteem and self confidence since as far back as I can remember. Recently, I've made a push to "fix" myself because I met someone who has made me happier than I could ever imagine, and I would like to be able to see myself in the same light that he sees me in. I think (guess to the best of my ability) my issues stem from my mother nit-picking at everything about me (your hair would look nice like x instead; if you lost weight you'd have so many boys chasing you; why don't you wear makeup; you're dressing like a slob, why would you go out like that). I know she doesn't mean them maliciously but slowly over the years, the comments have whittled down whatever confidence I have into a cesspool of anxiety about who I am. I can't be anything less than perfect and I'm pretty much as far from this "perfect" standard as I'll ever be.

To make it brief, these are the kind of thoughts that go through my head every day: what's wrong with my eyebrows, they're so sparse unlike that girl's; I'm so fat I'm disgusting, how could he ever find this attractive; these stretch marks can never be seen by another person; I don't know how to do makeup it looks awful; my hair is getting too thin and it's never as perfect as that girl's; I can't dress up because I'm fat fat fat; people would take one look at me legs and want to vomit; would he be ashamed to have me standing next to him; my face is too flat (I'm Asian) how ugly; all these people's significant others are skinny and pretty - to give a few examples. I get so focused on thinking these are the things other people will think about me, I'm too afraid to be myself or let myself be seen (social anxiety) because I believe they'll always think the worst and nitpick at everything about me. I try to tell myself I'm smart, I'm not that ugly, I'm on the heavy side but so are other girls and they're still beautiful, I come from a good family, I'm kind and well-mannered, yet at the end of the day, the feelings of being disgusting and unwanted overwhelms all the positive.

While I've accepted this kind of thinking about myself, I'm terrified my insecurities will drive my boyfriend away because I have such a difficult (near impossible) time believing he thinks I'm beautiful. This then leads to doubts about whether he really loves someone like me because I'm so awful, and he doesn't deserve that mistrust from me. I want to be better mostly for myself, for the sake of my happiness, and for the joy that he brings to my life. If learning to love myself is the key, I want to learn to do that and I'd like to know if my way of thinking is as screwed up as I'm hoping it is, and how I can even begin to fix myself. I want to be able to go out on a date wearing a dress without heavy stockings on to cover every inch of my skin, and to actually feel beautiful with my clothes off in front of him. Thank you.
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#1

Postby WonderGurl » Fri Sep 23, 2016 9:11 pm

Nothing what you said about yourself is set in stone and you can quite easily change your perceptions. If you are willing to change your attitude, that is. Also, stop blaming your mother, this is on you now.

The way it works is very straightforward. Your thinking patterns are extremely negative. By continuously telling yourself rubbish, you have created a lot of negative beliefs about yourself that cause insecurities.

Take the list of beliefs from your op and start challenging them. Every single one of them has to be addressed and eventually replaced with a positive, empowering belief.

Basically, you're turning your current attitude on its head: positive thoughts create positive emotions. Keep thinking the same thought long enough and it becomes a deep seated belief. The more positive beliefs you develop, the more positive actions you will take and those actions will create more positive results in your life. And so it goes.

It's hard at the beginning because it's new, but soon enough you will form enough positive thinking habits that will create a positive momentum in your life, including choosing the most appropriate partner rather than hoping not to get dumped.
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#2

Postby ilovefuture » Mon Oct 31, 2016 11:13 pm

I believe that rather than just simply telling yourself to love yourself you can actually learn it. Start learning about yourself and what you like to do. Find your interests, hobbies, what makes you feel good on the inside. Maybe it's helping a homeless man or simply learning a new skill like horse riding or learning an instrument. If you are working maybe you should start trying to aim for a career path which you can find value in. You could travel and discover yourself in a new environment. Quite often a new enviornment really helps as I know it did for me personally.

In terms of you being conscious about how you look I believe once you are more comfortable that you are progressing with your life in a way which is positive then it will help you avoid the negative thoughts which run through your mind. It's very important to trust yourself as you're the only person like you. What you think looks good and beautiful may be different for someone else. Dress and make yourself look the way that you personally think makes you look the best, do not look for others for validation.

I have a blog which does talk about this kind of stuff, I think it may open your eyes up a bit. Let me know if you are interested as I am not allowed to post URLs on here

:)
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#3

Postby AlexD » Wed Nov 16, 2016 7:13 pm

@runscooterrun

Hi there! I am new here and I read your post just now. I am a certified self-confidence coach and cannot redirect you to my site yet as I am a new member, which is perfectly fine. But here are a couple of things you can do, and you should do in order to help yourself replace your negative thinking with a positive thought pattern. The replies the other members gave you are very valuable. So I will probably not be saying much new stuff, but will say it in a different way.
First of all, please understand that your doubts are not only limited to people who think they are overweight. I have worked with women and men who look amazing by most people's standards yet they are plagued by self doubts and low self-esteem for all sorts of reasons, including appearance. On the other hand, I know personally people who are overweight by all medical measurements, yet they have such charisma that people from the opposite sex simply keep chasing them like you will not believe. This tells you how subjective and self-imposed our thoughts can be. Yes, parents and peers can have a big influence, but ultimately it is up to us to make the final and only valid decision.
Do me a favor and write down the qualities you have that you are confident are positive. Write those down and read them very carefully. You will then get in front of a mirror and say out loud that you possess these qualities (at least five) and that you are proud of yourself. Out loud in front of the mirror. That way you are not only casually thinking it, but you are seeing AND hearing yourself, so you engage more senses at a time. It will be weird at first, but do not give up. Remember to smile. The qualities can be inner or outer ones. Reinforce to yourself aloud that your qualities are valuable. Do this several times a day. Then each evening, make a list of the accomplishments of your day. No matter how small. No accomplishment is too small to be mentioned with pride at the end of the day. Get to the mirror again and say those out loud. Then congratulate yourself at the end, as you would a loved friend, sincerely that is. You need to befriend yourself. Right now, you are estranged from yourself. PM me if you want more techniques or if you have any questions. But once you get comfortable in front of the mirror, you will see that it'll change the way you feel in front of others, including your boyfriend. I have done it many times, and it is great.
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#4

Postby Roady » Wed Nov 16, 2016 10:40 pm

No matter how hard you proclaim the positive qualities in front of your mirror, you have to deal with the pain that definitely comes from your mother. Words can give life, but words can also can give death.
Your mother damaged you in a serious way.
The only reason I can think of, is that she is damaged too in her life.
You can't give what you never received.

You need to find a way to process this negative thoughts as well as the pain it gave to you.
You need to forgive your mother and free yourself emotionally from her.
I hope and pray that you will meet people on your path who show you what love is.
If you are able to receive it, you will be able to accept yourself and start loving yourself.
Because you feel loved.
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#5

Postby AlexD » Wed Nov 16, 2016 11:54 pm

Your mother's words are now past. You are an adult. You choose how to manage your emotions. As an adult, you are hundred percent responsible for your emotions. I know it is very tempting to always blame parents or peers, but until you stop doing that, you will continue feeling the pain. Forgiveness is necessary, as Roady says. Because it is liberating. But most importantly, no parent means bad things when they give advise to their children. Now, the way they give their advise sometimes is a different story, but generally they mean good. Let me know of a parent who never ever made a derogatory comment, I'd love to meet them. I used to blame my parents for many things as well. It did me absolutely no good for years. Once I realized this, I chose to navigate my own emotions, went to seminars and learned self-confidence boosting techniques. I also applied these techniques, which is important. Systematically at that. When you say "words can give death", are you implying you have no choice as to how seriously to take certain words? Blaming is the easier way out. But you are still in, does that make sense? Once you focus on yourself first, and disregard what others think, then you are in control. And it is only your decision :). I completely agree with both of you that the hardest opinions to distance yourself from are those of your closest family members, trust me, I've been there in a bad way. However, that makes the challenge even more inspiring. Think about the day when, thanks to your conscious efforts, you are actually free of that heavy burden, and are able to pride yourself of the excellent qualities you have, develop more of what you want to have, and nobody dares to force any opinions on you. That day will never come until you firmly resolve in yourself that their opinions are ok, but yours is the priority. I had to tell my parents several times that I'd appreciate their views only if I ask for them. That was when I changed professions against their will, started a hobby they were completely against, started a business and succeeded, again completely out of their comfort level, and with my own means, so they did come to realize that they were not in control any longer. Parents are great, but in some ways they need to be educated just as children do. So long as they know you care too much for their opinion of the way you look, they will control your life. Who is supposed to put an end to this if not you?
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